The Mets officially announced the signing of outfielder Alejandro De Aza, while also closing the door on Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was placed on waivers and picked up by the Brewers Wednesday afternoon.
De Aza, a career journeyman with eight years of major-league experience, signed a one-year, $5.75-million contract with the Mets. De Aza can earn an additional $1.25 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $250,000 for 400 and each additional 50 through 600. The lefthanded-hitting outfielder played 114 games last season with three teams, and hit .262 with seven home runs, 32 RBIs and seven stolen bases. All seven of his homers came against righthanded pitchers.
Nieuwenhuis leaves after spending his entire major-league career with the Mets, with the exception of 10 games after he was traded to the Angels for cash considerations last season. The Angels eventually designated him for assignment and he was claimed by the Mets less than three weeks after the original trade.
The Mets placed him on waivers this week to clear the 40-man roster spot for De Aza, and the Brewers announced Wednesday that they had picked up Nieuwenhuis. His major contribution last season were a three-home run game against the Diamondbacks in July and a pinch-hit, go-ahead home run off Jonathon Papelbon on Sept. 8 that was the difference in the Mets’ 8-7 win over the Nationals. But for the most part, Nieuwenhuis struggled mightily, hitting .195 with 49 strikeouts in 74 games.
The Mets also signed first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss to a minor-league deal and re-signed relievers Buddy Carlyle and Duane Below.
Yankees pick up Puello
The Yankees signed Cesar Puello, the former Mets minor leaguer best known for being involved in the Biogenesis scandal, according to Baseball America.
Puello, a 24-year-old outfielder who was released by the Mets in August after spending the season on the disabled list with a back injury, has a .285 average in eight seasons in the minors and last played with the Gulf Coast League Mets.
In 2013, Puello was suspended 50 games for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, which provided performance-enhancing drugs and led to the suspension of 14 players, including Alex Rodriguez. Puello is the only one of those players to have never made it to the major leagues.